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June 30, 2016 5:54 am

Budapest’s Jewish Quarter Reinvents Itself as Cultural Hotspot With Avant-Garde Options for Visitors

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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A 'ruin bar' in Budapest. Photo: TripAdvisor.com.

A ‘ruin bar’ in Budapest. The Jewish quarter in the Hungarian capital now have a lot to offer visitors, though it was once an area filled with abandoned buildings. Photo: TripAdvisor.com.

The Jewish quarter in Budapest, once filled with nothing more than abandoned buildings, now offers a variety of alternative cultural attractions, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.

The area — also known as Budapest’s seventh district, or Erzsébetváros — is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, wine bars and bakeries that invoke an indie spirit and stray away from the mainstream model. One popular place is Szimpla Kert, a “ruin pub” that has a large outdoor patio and rooms with thrift-store furniture.

Attila Höfle, founder of the tour company Budapest Flow, regularly takes visitors on excursions to ruin pubs and unconventional art spaces in the seventh district. Stops on his tour might include a visit to the colorful Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue, a mural of the Rubik’s Cube, which is a Hungarian invention, and a cultural center known for an array of film screenings and improv shows in the adjacent eighth district. Höfle said his go-to spots in the Jewish quarter include an avant-garde gallery that highlights the works of Hungarian and international artists.

“The Jewish Quarter is the very essence of what I love in Budapest because it’s full of contradiction: traditional Jewish culture and hipsters at the same time and in the same place,” he said. “You can feel and experience Jewish life before World War II inside old shops; the Communist period of Hungary at retro restaurants; and contemporary Budapest through street art and street food.”

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